Keep in mind raising a puppy is a "Full-Time" job and caring for a dog is a "Life-Time" job. Do you really have the time, patience and presence to raise a puppy? After that cute fuzzy puppy grows up to an adult dog, do you really still have the time to take it out to potty 3 to 5 times a day along with at least 2 daily walks? Depending on the breed, some dogs need hours of exercise and attention everyday.
Raising a puppy from 8 weeks on, is not something to take lightly. Make sure you take the following into account.
- Once you get past the cute cuddly pup, you will need to start potty train your pup as soon as you bring your pup home. For most pups, you can't and shouldn't rely on Wee-Wee pads for very long. Potty training will take constant trips outside every 3-4 hours at a minimum throughout the day and all through the night for at least 6 months. You should never leave a pup alone for more than 4 or 5 hours in a cage. It needs to be taken outside constantly (early in the morning, right after he eats, after he plays, and late at night). Do you have time to take a pup out 6 to 8 times a day? While it may get better after 1 year, you will still need to take your pup outside at least 3 to 5 times a day to go potty throughout your dogs life. You will essentially be picking up dog poop for the next 15 years 2 to 3 times a day. Are you ready for that. Which brings me to the next thing to think about...
- Do you have a fenced in yard? If not, you will be required to walk your dog, take your dog out to potty all the time. This can be very time consuming, and something you may not want to do early in the morning, or late at night when you are sleeping. You really should have a fenced in yard if you have a medium to large dog breed. And especially, if you are getting a high energy breed that needs lots of daily exercise because you won't always be able to take you dog on long walks, or off-leash hikes or play at the park. You may really want to reconsider getting a puppy if you don't have a fenced in yard.
- Do you like sleep? Well you probably won't sleep more than 4 hours at a time for the first 6 months while you potty train a pup. It will bark at all times throughout the night to be taken out to go potty. So don't think about getting much sleep while raising a puppy.
- Do you get annoyed easily? BARK, BARK, BARK...BARK, BARK, BARK. Depending on the puppy (and dog breed), it will bark at various things, at all times of the day/night. Can you really handle a barking dog while you try to get things done, try to get sleep at nite, try to study for an exam, try to get work finished on the computer?
- Do you have the time? Even if you can get past the puppy stage. Ask yourself if you really have the time in your life to take care of a dog constantly, every day for the next 15 years of your life? From daily trips to go potty, walking, playing, training and keeping your dog entertained. It will alter your daily life routine significantly, especially if your dog breed is a high energy or high maintenance. Some breeds will need at a minimum of 2 hours of your time a day, if not more. You will essentially be taking care of a dog and all it's needs for the next 15 years of your life, is that what you really want? You will have less time to do things on your own, without always thinking about how you will take care of your pup. A dog has it's own internal clock, of when it needs to go to the bathroom, and when it needs to be feed. If your not a morning person, and don't like waking up at 6 or 7 in the morning to feed and walk your dog, then you should really re-think getting a puppy / dog because your dog may make you get up that early.
- Will you have any other family members to help with caring for the pup? If not, you should reconsider getting a puppy / dog. Time, time, and more time is what will be required of you to care for your pup if it's only yourself who will be taking care of your dog. Not having any other helping hands will mean your dogs life is now your life.
- Do you like a clean house? If you do, you can say good bye to clean carpets and floors. Dogs are outside a lot, which means they are always tracking in dirt into your house and car, so unless your vacuuming constantly and washing floors constantly, you just won't have a clean house or car for very long especially in the Spring when it's muddy and wet out. Puppies will poop and pee in the house at first, no matter how well you are at potty training them. And any dog that isn't potty trained properly (or is but you forget to take them outside), will poop and pee all over your floors and carpets as they get older. No dog is perfect all the time. So you still sure you want a dog?
- Do you have the money to take care of a puppy? A puppy can and probably will cost at least $2,000 to $4,000 in it's first year of care alone, especially if you buy a puppy from a breeder. Other expenses include: Vet care, spade or neutering, heartgard, flea and tick, food, treats, puppy training classes, dog kennel, leashes, harnesses, toys, dog boarding costs if you go away, dog books, dog bowls and other dog accessories.
- Will you feel safe leaving your dog alone in your house while your gone? If not, you'll have to crate him everytime you leave the house. Leaving a dog crated for more than 5 hours at a time can be pretty cruel especially if this is a daily occurance. So ask yourself, if your schedule really allows you to not leave your dog crated up for long hours everyday. If you work 8 hours during the day, then you really need to have dog walker who can let your dog out during the day to potty and that will cost money if you have to hire somebody.
- Where will your dog stay when you go away if you can't take him with you? Do you have a family member that can watch the dog or will you board the dog at a kennel? Dog boarding can cost $40 to $100 a night.
- Do you have a cat? If you do, the new puppy/ dog will change your cats behaviour for good. If the cat is afraid of the dog, it will probablly be one depressed, scared cat for the rest of it's life while living in the house together. While cats and dogs can get along, your cat probably won't be too happy to have a dog in the house no matter what.
- How do you feel about ticks? Inevitably, your dog is going to pick up ticks if it's outside playing in grass or walking through a field or forest. And it's going to bring those ticks back to your house and possibly in your bed (if you let your dog sleep on your bed). Ticks are pretty nasty and can carry Lime disease, so it's something you will constantly have to be on the look out for. Even if you give your dog a flea and tick application once a month, they will still pick up ticks.
- Have you ever had a dog before? If not, maybe consider taking care of a friends or families dog for at least 2 weeks and see how well you can adjust to life with a dog, before thinking about getting a puppy.
- Remember rasing a puppy is a ton of work, you'll get very little sleep, have a lot less time to devote to other endevours, and spend a good deal of money taking care of it.
- Make sure you know all about the breed of dog you plan to get... Find out their typical problems, issues that people have with the breed. Find out how much time they say you need to spend with the dog daily. DO NOT get a high energy dog unless you have a fenced in yard and are able to take it off-leash hiking or playing (leash walking will never be enough for them).
- You really need to take a look at your life and ask yourself if you really can care for a dog properly and have the right environment for a dog for it's entire lifetime. Every puppy / dog is going to be different no matter what the breed. Make sure you really have the right situation for the puppy you plan to get.
- Lastly DO NOT get a dog just because you see cute puppy pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Getting a dog is a life changing event, and will literally alter your life for good or bad. Do not take getting a puppy lightly, because the cute fuzz ball will grow up pretty quickly in 6 to 12 months.
- Seriously, ask yourself if you really want to be picking up dog poop 2-3 times a day for the next 15 years. Dog ownship means lots of dog poop... whether you like it or not.